Our final day, and we were sad. The weather decided to match our mood, and it was pouring rain as we stepped out of our cozy room at Ocean Shores Resort. Such melancholy 😦
We would have a few hours of driving to reach our first destination of the day, Cape Disappointment. We set out in the rain, with me googling the United States’ tsunami warning protocols to pass the time. Being the early birds that we were, the donut shops were not yet open in Ocean Shores, so we opted to grab some Wendy’s and Starbucks in Aberdeen as we passed through. We got to Wendy’s five minutes too early, so took a stunning cruise through a Walmart parking lot to kill time. Then leaving Aberdeen we got lost on a few drawbridges to Janice’s delight. Ahhh, the little adventures!
Cape Disappoint State Park is situated at the end of Long Beach Peninsula, where the Columbia River reaches the Pacific Ocean. It is part of the Lewis and Clark National Park system, and is anything but a disappointment, despite the heavy fog we had for our visit! (It is named such due to John Meares’ thwarted attempt to find the Columbia River in 1788 when he just assumed it was a bay, and not the actual river, and gave up.)
Our first stop for this non-disappointing trip at Cape Disappointment was North Head Lighthouse. We suited up for the cold rain (yay for the emergency umbrella I randomly had in my car that we brought along), and I paid at the automatic machine for the “Discovery Pass,” which is the Washington state park fee. We mistakingly took the North Head Trail, but I realized fairly quickly that we were heading away from where the lighthouse should be.
Next up was a visit to Waikiki Beach (no, not the one in Hawaii, like Google Maps tried to send us to when I typed it in). I had fingers crossed we’d be able to see the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. Alas, the fog was way too thick; instead we got to see a fresh shipwreck! Waikiki Beach is thought to be where Clark of Lewis & Clark fame found the Pacific Ocean in 1805. But way is it named as such? Well, a Hawaiian sailor’s body washed ashore here in 1811. The more you know.
Our final stop in Cape Disappointment State Park was the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. It took a bit of wayfinding (we accidentally took a sketchy one lane road up the hill to the accessible parking area), but eventually we made it. The main parking lot does require an uphill walk to the center.
There is a large exhibit at the interpretive center that we decided against visiting for the sake of time (though I wish we did, there’s an activity to see how full you can pack a canoe without tipping it, and that sounds like fun!). We checked out the great gift shop and acquired some souvenirs. There are also A LOT of passport stamps to be obtained here… so many, they number them and also provide a chair to sit in as you stamp all your books! You can get stamps for: North Head Lighthouse, Camp Disappointment Lighthouse, Lewis & Clark National and State Historical Parks, Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail (Camp Disappointment and Station Camp – two separate stamps), unique interpretive center one, and another center one for the Pacific Ocean. My first stamps for my Lighthouse Passport and plenty to help fill out my pages for this region in my US Parks Passport.
Our fill of Cape Disappointment complete for now, we headed south. Originally we had planned for a stop at the Goonies House in Astoria so Janice could do the truffle shuffle, but we learned there isn’t close parking and with the rain it didn’t seem fun to take a walk to see it. Also we planned on stopping at Cannon Beach, but we decided to skip it due to weather (and it worked out as it took foreverrrrrrr to get our food at Tillamook Creamery, and we did have a flight to catch in Portland, after all).
One thing we noticed immediately upon arriving in Oregon was the amount of trash all along the highway. Definitely a stark contrast to Washington, and honestly, it kinda soiled our view of the state. (A friend of mine would note the same thing when he visited a few weeks later, so I know it is not just Janice and I!) There was also a lot more traffic, especially around the busy seaside towns. We made a quick stop for gas and the bathroom, and realized you can’t pump your own gas in Oregon, which I remembered when I came out of the bathroom and Janice was commenting about how a guy asked if she knew how to do it.
Our last stop before the Portland International Airport would be the Tillamook Creamery. Janice and I both love cheese and ice cream, so why not?!
Well, in the end, this was a very big “been there, done that, never again” experience. It was crowded, oh so crowded, and the food at the cafeteria was very mediocre. Kind of a bummer… made me wonder if coffee at Sleepy Monk and a stroll along Cannon Beach would’ve been better after all!
Now all that was left to do was head back to Portland. As we crested the mountains the skies cleared and the rain stopped.
Portland traffic was Portland traffic, and we got turned around a few times and missed a few turns. Honestly, it was a relief when we finally made it to the airport! We said goodbye to our little red sports car, and enjoyed breezing through security and being in a pretty chill airport! So long, Pacific Northwest! I know I’ll be back for sure to climb your volcanoes and frolicked on your rocky beaches hopefully soon!